S.C. Gov. Henry McMaster demanded, again, that Santee Cooper – whose board he controls – give him a report said to raise red flags about the now abandoned construction of two nuclear reactors in Fairfield County.
“Failure to do so will constitute malfeasance,” the governor said – alluding to his control over who sits on the state-owned utility’s board.
McMaster requested the 2015 report last week from state-owned Santee Cooper, which partnered with Cayce-based SCANA to build the reactors in Jenkinsville. The project has cost $9 billion in nine years so far.
The governor wants to see the report because he is trying to sell Santee Cooper to recoup some of the roughly $2 billion customers have paid, in advance, to build the reactors.
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However, on Friday, an attorney representing Santee Cooper denied McMaster’s request, arguing the report was created under attorney-client privilege and would be harmful to Santee Cooper if released.
In response, McMaster disagreed, arguing that state law entitles him to the document.
The law, McMaster says, imposes “an affirmative duty” on public officers to immediately furnish information requested by the governor.
McMaster also issued a stern warning, saying it was the utility and its chairman’s duty to hand over the report. McMaster appoints the utility’s 12-member board with the advice and consent of the state Senate.
The document McMaster is seeking is the Bechtel report, an analysis of the nuclear construction of two reactors at the V.C. Summer power plant in Jenkinsville.
The weekend exchange between the utility and the governor comes after Santee Cooper’s board chairman, Leighton Lord, said he wanted to hand over the report to the governor, adding that it “found a lot of problems” with the nuclear project.